Glen Taylor on collapse of Timberwolves' sale to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez: 'It's business' – Star Tribune

Glen and Becky Taylor were spending a couple of weeks at their home in Naples, Fla., in mid-February, a quiet place on a narrow, passive river that leads into the Gulf of Mexico.
“We’re going to miss five Timberwolves home games, which we don’t want to do, but Becky likes it here,” Glen said, and my immediate thought was: “And who could blame her?”
There was an office back in there somewhere — Taylor’s Zoom room for business — and that very morning, he was involved in a remote meeting with Marc Lore.
Except this was not a discussion about the effort of Lore and partner Alex Rodriguez to complete a purchase of a majority interest in Taylor’s Timberwolves.
It was Lore trying to interest Taylor in making an investment in a different business, and it was none of my “beeswax” — as they used to say in Taylor’s hometown of Comfrey, Minn. — on how that turned out.
The Star Tribune (which Taylor also owns) was planning a story on his departure from high-profile sports ownership to coincide with the end of the Wolves’ regular season.
I was in Fort Myers for vacation and spring training — which are basically the same thing — and was able to get Taylor’s OK to “come to the house” in Naples for an interview that would be heavy on retrospective.
Mrs. Reusse came along, we were there for three hours, and the voice recorder ran for 1 hour, 37 minutes. But before I hit record, Taylor made this point emphatically:
“The deal is not done. There are deadlines to be met. As always, the NBA must be satisfied with new ownership, as well as its financials.”
The Lore-Rodriguez tandem already had been given an extension. That was reached on March 27 — this Wednesday.
“They missed it,” Taylor said.
This was in a short phone interview with Taylor from his home in Mankato on Thursday. A couple of hours earlier, the Timberwolves sent out a news release that the NBA team and their partners, the Lynx, were no longer for sale.
“Lore and ARod now own 36 percent,” Taylor said by phone. “I will work with them, as I do with my other limited.”
That term is used by Taylor to describe a few other individuals who own small shares of the basketball business.
The purchase price of $1.5 billion negotiated by Lore and Rodriguez has been dwarfed by other sales of NBA teams — including in Milwaukee and Phoenix.
“We could’ve gotten more — we could’ve gotten $2.5 billion paid upfront — but that person was going to try to move the team to Las Vegas,” Taylor said in February.
There have been “NBA insiders” stating that the relationship between Lore, ARod and Taylor had “deteriorated” in recent weeks. Not enough so that Lore declined to make a pitch to Taylor for an investment in another company in February.
On Thursday, Taylor was asked about those reports. “I don’t know if that’s accurate,” he said. “Lore told me he has been busy 24/7 with other projects. And ARod — he has a lot of people to meet when he’s at a game.
“The deadline had been pushed back, and they missed it. That’s what led to this.”
Taylor said it doesn’t change the basketball operation, with the Timberwolves currently headed by Tim Connelly.
“I only knew of him,” Taylor said in February. “So, when he had interest in coming here, we invited him to our house for dinner. He’s very friendly, very common, very family-oriented. And a very good decisionmaker.”
Taylor’s a fan of Connelly. He’s a fan of coach Chris Finch. He’s a fan of Cheryl Reeve with the Lynx, of course.
Nothing’s changing here, including the guy who has been covering the bills and watching the assets grow.
One positive for the team followers complaining about Taylor staying as owner:
The demand for a new arena to house the Timberwolves could come much later with Taylor in charge, rather than if Lore and Rodriguez had taken over.
“I’m OK with Target Center,” Taylor said. “You would always like to see a few improvements, but I don’t see a major problem with the arena for now.”
Did the explosion in the NBA sale prices lead to Thursday’s decision to enforce the latest deadline and cancel the sale?
“Not for me,” Taylor said. “My money’s going to the Taylor Foundation, not in my pocket. But my limiteds, they might be happy if the Timberwolves are sold later for a higher price.”
Litigation has been mentioned as a possibility for the Lore-ARod group, based on the claim they had lined up the financing. Response?
“It’s business,” Taylor said. “Everyone has the right to bring in the lawyers.”
Lots of calls today? “Yes, and we have three grandbabies here,” he said. “I’m going to have to stop answering.”
Patrick Reusse is a sports columnist who writes three columns per week. Write to Patrick by e-mailing sports@startribune.com and including his name in the subject line.
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